Situated on the coast of West Africa, Ghana is a country full of beautiful beaches, lush vegetation and the world’s largest artificial lake – Lake Volta! Hailed as one of Africa’s great success stories, Ghana is reaping the benefits of a stable democracy in the form of fast paced development.
Although a stable country, many Ghanaians live in poverty, so volunteers really do make a difference. English is learned at school and widely spoken, but a little effort to learn a few phrases in one of the local languages will go a long way. With so many opportunities to make a difference, spending your gap year in Ghana is a truly rewarding experience.
Lattitude works in partnership with organisations such as the Football for Hope (FFH) movement which uses sport to re-engage young people. FFH builds on the historic hosting of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and harnesses this enormously popular sport to address education and health challenges in underserved communities across Africa. One of the first FFH centres was built in Cape Coast in Ghana and Play Soccer Ghana (PSG) was selected to be the Centre Host.
Volunteers on this placement will be helping to educate the users through a range of different sports. Volunteers on this placement should have an interest in sports and will be focusing on raising awareness, training, peer education, resources development and teaching.
Community Development Worker:
Our placements in Ghana are embedded in local communities, designed to deliver sustainable outcomes that make a positive impact on members of the local community. Working in support of the UN’s Millennium Goals, our Community Development projects in Ghana focus on local intervention programmes that support national priorities. We support programmes for economic growth, which build resilience and support the long term benefit of overseas communities.
Lattitude volunteers have worked on programmes that support women’s empowerment, HIV and AIDS education programmes, engaging local youths in education and sustainable food production. Volunteers will work closely with local staff and in addition to involvement with project activities Community Development Workers can also be involved in the planning and management of the project, monitoring and reporting. Some projects give the opportunity to work alongside in-country volunteers.
This role is a unique opportunity for enthusiastic and committed individuals to gain essential professional experience in community-level international development on their gap year, while also developing transferable employability skills in leadership, communication, team work, confidence, cross cultural understanding and problem solving.
Health worker placements are some of our most challenging but rewarding volunteering placements. Based in local health centres, volunteers help the local staff, who are usually overworked and responsible for almost everything medically-based in their community. The role of a local health centre is vital within a rural community and is greatly respected; it’s rare to find doctors or nurses at rural health centres, so the demands on local staff are great and your support and flexibility will be much appreciated.
The role does not require any technical or medical experience and you will volunteer under the supervision of local staff (although if you do have experience, that would certainly be welcomed). Typical activities of a Volunteer Health Worker will include: assisting with some of the running of a health centre, looking after a basic pharmacy and providing general administration for patient care, helping to maintain patient records, assisting with activities with babies and under-fives and monthly baby monitoring (weighing) and feeding, assisting with outreach programmes and involvement with health education campaigns.
Gap year volunteers can teach a variety of subjects including English, Maths, Science and other subjects depending on their skills and the school’s needs. Volunteers working with pre-school children will also do some care work and help with any extra-curricular activities. Schools in Ghana are very under-resourced, but you will find that the students are eager and willing to learn and the more effort you put in the more you will be rewarded. Resourcefulness, initiative and ingenuity are key attributes needed.
There is plenty of opportunity for proactive placement volunteers to get involved in more than the role of a teacher. Often gap year volunteers set up extra-curricular clubs such as sports coaching, drama or music clubs. These clubs are often very well attended by the local school children and become a great part of the week for the community and also the volunteer to enjoy.
Most volunteers live with a host family providing a unique opportunity to live amongst local people. Ghanaian society is far more traditional than western society and your hosts will expect you to live as a family member and spend time with them, whilst welcoming you with open arms. Some volunteers in Ghana choose to live in staff accommodation or have a room in a boarding school. This gives you more independence, but you will still be living close to teachers and students. You are free to travel at weekends and during school holidays, provided that you let your host know that you will be away.
Need to know
- Pre departure briefing – all volunteers are invited to a group briefing prior to departure
- On arrival – all volunteers have an orientation in Accra
Before you go:
- We interview each volunteer in order to find out their strengths, skills and interests, as well as identifying what they are hoping to achieve while away. This helps us select the right people to be Lattitude volunteers and after a second interview with the In-Country Programme Manager (often via Skype or e-mail), we match them to a placement that is right for them.
- Once you have been accepted by the in Country Programme Manager you will be looked after by a specialised Volunteer Coordinator based in our NZ office, who is responsible for all volunteers going to a particular country. They provide briefing materials, support with logistics such as flights and visas and are there to answer any questions.
- Everyone attends a pre-departure briefing to meet other volunteers and Lattitude staff, and other professionals such as our travel agent, travel doctors and insurance company representatives as well as hearing from returned volunteers.
- All volunteers sign our Term and Conditions to ensure that Lattitude's expectations of each volunteer are agreed and clear from the outset.
When you're overseas:
- We have paid staff based in each country. Our Country Managers oversee the program and work with a team of Local Representatives who provide support in the local areas and develop close relationships with placement hosts.
- Each volunteer attends a group orientation & teaching skills course on arrival.
- We work with Embassies and High Commissions to ensure we can respond to any situation and provide 24/7 emergency support from the Lattitude office in NZ
When you are back:
- We recognise that coming home can be difficult and provide one-to-one support, with onward referrals for further professional support if needed. Volunteers are invited to debriefing events and become part of our network of alumni.
These costs are for Lattitude placements in Ghana in 2018 and a full explanation of costs can be found here:
|Lattitude fees (exact costs)|
|Lattitude Application Fee||$150|
|Lattitude Contribution Fee||$3,900|
|Lattitude In-country Orientation||$250|
|Lattitude Teaching Skills Course||$350|
|You will also need to budget for the following (approx costs)|
|Return Airfares (approx cost of group flight)||$2,400 - $3,200|
|Travel Insurance (3 - 12 months)||$430 - $980|
|Medical examination||$50 - $200|
|Travel Doctor Consultation & Immunisations||$0 - $1,000|
|Total cost (approximate)
||$7,680 - $10,230|
Free Time & Travel
As one of the region’s more prosperous countries and with over 50 ethnic groups, Ghana offers visitors a diverse and welcoming introduction to the African continent. Explore the country by boat, bus, train or air and witness a range of sights, from beautiful beaches and stunning national parks to lively cities. At weekends or during your holidays from work, you could travel to Mole Park in the North of the country, and find yourself face-to-face with forest elephants, gazelles and baboons. Alternatively, head south to Lake Volta: this vast body of water is the world’s largest artificial lake and provides Ghanaians with hydroelectric power.
Ghana is situated just a few degrees above the Equator, so in the past volunteers have chosen to spend some time cooling off on one of the country’s many handsome beaches. Ghana is blessed with hundreds of kilometres of picturesque coastline, and the two fishing villages of Busua and Dixcove are particularly favoured for their sandy assets. History buffs will also find fodder for their curiosity in the country’s ruined European forts, such as Cape Coast Castle. If you have a spare weekend but do not want to travel far, you can also explore the local culture and traditions. Music and dance are highly diverse in Ghana, and each ethnic group and occasion has its own individual dance. Also, you cannot travel to Ghana without noticing the importance of textiles to its culture. Locals buy their preferred cloth first then ask a tailor to make them into clothes. Past volunteers have also taken advantage of this and enjoyed getting some one-off garments made up for them at very reasonable prices. With so much to do, Ghana is the perfect place for an inspiring, memorable gap year.
Population: 85 million
Time Zone: Auckland (UTC/GMT +13 hours) minus 6 hours
Climate: The climate in Vietnam is tropical and sub-tropical. Winters can be chilly in the north but are mild in the south. The middle calendar months are hot and sticky.
Currency: Vietnamese Dong
"I have to admit my heart is still in Ghana. It was a life-enhancing and truly unforgettable experience."
Lucy, Lattitude Teacher